I was recently asked what made me decide to leave a great job and steady pay to start my own company 20 years ago. I had two young children, a mortgage, and a strong desire to break out on my own. It wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction, it was something that had been a dream of mine for decades.
It has been said you never really know where you are going to get inspiration from, and that is exactly what happened to me back on November 24, 1974. At 12-years-old, a television show changed the trajectory of my life.
From 1972 to 1997, the “ABC Afterschool Special” aired, usually right after the school day. The show is aimed at middle to high school kids, and in the mid-70s, my classmates and myself included rushed home to catch the newest episode. I thought it was going to be just another great show, until I started to watch. This one was called “The Toothpaste Millionaire,” based on Jean Merrill’s book of the same title. The story centered around 12-year-old Rufus Mayflower, a sixth grader that starts his own toothpaste company after finding a toothpaste filling machine. The story follows Rufus as he defies the odds and turns his company into a million-dollar business.
It was at that moment, sitting in my parents living room watching the TV and absorbing every line of that story, that I realized I wanted to start my own business. If Rufus could do it, so could I.
I was going to become an entrepreneur.
As we all know, life sometimes gets in the way, but when the opportunity to realize my dream presented itself, I knew I had to jump at it. 25 years after I first saw “The Toothpaste Millionaire,” I signed my first client and Pinehurst Technologies was born. I never had a doubt I would be successful, and although it hasn’t always been easy, it has always been the right decision.
I am lucky to be in an industry that I enjoy, with co-workers that have become family and clients that have become friends. As I reflect back on the past 20 years and how we have changed to meet the current needs of our clients, I realize how lucky I am to know this is where I am supposed to be.